The Typographic Hub

NOTE: This event is now closed

Text[s] to Book[s]

21st June 2012

Théories et pratiques de l’Interdisciplinarité Dans les Etudes Anglophones, Université de Lorraine, Nancy
21-23 June 2012


From Text(s) to Book(s)’ is an international conference sponsored by the IDEA (Interdisciplinarité dans les Etudes Anglophones) research group at Université de Lorraine (France), and SHARP (The Society for the History of Authorship, Reading & Publishing).

This conference will explore the ways texts are materialized for consumption by the reading public. The conference situates itself in the lineage of recent studies in textual scholarship that emphasize the variety and instability of textual productions and of works in book-history, which stress the influence that paratextual elements and the physical form(s) of printed material exert on readerly interpretation.


Leonard Jay: the advent of technical education in book design and production

This paper will consider the work of Leonard Jay and the emergence of technical education in book design and printing in Britain in the early twentieth century: a period when the industry was changing from a craft-based to technology-led trade, when letterpress was giving way to offset-litho and hand composition was succeeded by machine setting.

Leonard Jay, head of the Birmingham School of Printing [1925-53], was a teacher par excellence who influence and trans-formed the outlook of a whole generation of printers and designer thereby making a significant contribution to British printing and book design in the first half of the twentieth century. He made the Birmingham School without equal, and exercised a worldwide influence on printing and publishing educational policy.

Jay was a pioneering teacher, and rare in having the perspicacity to practise and teach the new idea that mechanics and technology could be used to produce excellence in printing and book production.

Jay made a major contribution to the development of technical education: his influence transformed the outlook of a whole generation and left an indelible record on the history of his time. His combination of idealism and practical vision transformed not only the work of the Birmingham School but, in due course, the prevailing landscape of book design in one of the largest and most important centres of printing in Europe.

Under Jay, the Birmingham School of Printing produced over 150 books that won worldwide praise for their high quality of design and production. They are his indelible record on printing and book design history. However, Jay’s most im-portant legacy is those boys who trained under him and who took their learning into printing businesses throughout the country and thereby helped to raise standards in the industry.


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